Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shopping Locally-Is It Worth It?

I live in an area with lots of shopping. In my area at least, malls are giving way to outdoor shopping. Not the traditional strip mall, but rather shopping areas like this and this.  Stores are interspersed with restaurants. Small shops abut department stores, and the shopping area closest to me even has a dog park. There is also a walking downtown as well as traditional mom and pop stores.

I am fortunate among all these shopping alternatives are quite a few individually owned small businesses.  I have a locally owned, non chain bookstore. The kind that, like the big boys, has  large coffee area, book groups and large spaces for reading. I have a non-chain fabric stores, scrapbook stores, clothing stores and other retail establishments.there are also locally owned printers, computer repair, and the like.  I appreciate this in the extreme. I'm an extremely small business owner.  While I rely on the web for some income, much of my income comes in locally. I rely on small businesses for my errand business and appreciate the struggle.

On the other hand, I have to watch my money. The question arises as to what to do when you want to support local businesses, but they are more expensive. Mind you, not all my local businesses are more expensive. My family owned hardware is extremely competitive.  The local computer repair place wiped my computer of a virus for about a quarter of the Geek Squad's basic price.  However, the bookstore is more expensive than discount online stores. The same is true of my local fabric store-they try to give the best price possible they cannot compete with Joanne fabrics or online choices.  So what's a frugal gal to do?  Especially since I have to pass the cost of goods onto my customers in terms of fabric and thread.



Sometimes it's a tough choice, but for now I've decided that whenever possible I'll make the local choice.  Sometimes this may mean that I will be able to buy less, but I've decided that's okay.  Mostly, the quality of the items in my local shops are superior to Walmart and Target. The items are sometimes (but not always) locally made. I like where I live and I like the kind of shopping and atmosphere-I figure whenever I can support that on my fixed income I should do so.

Sometimes I'm sure, Ill stray from the path-especially when I'm searching for supplies to make items to resell. But for now, I'll keep my small amount of money in my neighborhood as much as possible.

What about you-do you have locally owned stores?  Do they provide quality?  Do you shop there?  Or do you prefer to stick with the big boys and their (sometime) big discounts.  What works for you?

11 comments:

  1. there's a 'town square' down the highway from me that's nice but I try to avoid going where there's shopping temptation unless I'm shopping for something specific. I dont' recall any specialty shops there though. that's a tough call. I would love an independent bookstore but supporting it would be hard unless I pared down the amount of books I'd be wanting to buy. I've even cut way back on amazon.com and search for used every chance I get - paperbackswap.com especially. I have too many though and if I'd been shopping at an independent bookstore I think I'd have been much more selective and not stressed over the size of my tbr pile and the clutter caused by so many books on-hand. I love the independent quilt shops and support them from time to time(cutting back there as well) but a lot of my current projects need novelties and Joann's and walmart are hard to beat for those and the prices are so much cheaper for stuff that's going in kids' quilts to be used for a few years most likely. I have enough trouble supporting my local grocery store(chain and expensive except for some sale items) and I go there for sales, convenience,and because it borders my townhome community propery and an empty shopping center is NOT a good thing to have for a neighbor. :-(
    I sure miss the days when everything was withing walking distance - like the old Andy Griffith shows LOL!
    Susanna

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  2. I avoid Walmart for shopping-which is a sacrifice for both food and stuff. I shop my local commissary because I know the profits keeps commissaries throughout the world open. I shop the local hardware store, second hand book place and craft shop. I also pay more at the localChristian book store. All are small businesses that are worth my extra quarter.

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  3. This really is a very good question. I live in a metro area of Portland Oregon and small businesses are not easy to even find. We are seeing what can happen when Wal Mart and all big box stores take over the community.

    I have passed an award on to you. Just click the link and see if you want to play

    http://www.retireinstyleblog.com/2011/10/thank-you-linda-rogers-for-this-award.html

    Oh by the way...I still get so many hits from your website. Thank you.

    b

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  4. We do tend to buy locally for many things - coffee, eating out, dog food, and farmer's market especially. I wouldn't do it if I couldn't afford it though and I shop chain stores when what I need is what they have and this tends to apply to all home improvement, clothing and most food purchases.

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  5. Susannah, I dont really buy new books, at lest not fiction-ever. I use my local library and reserve everything I need. So I have a limited amount of books anyway. I have been known to shop at hancokcs (never joannes) but find that my quilt shop has a huge variety (it really is alarge shop)

    Its been a huge culture shock moving to texas-although we have shopping areas, you do have to drive to them. in both germany and Arlington virginia, I walked everywhere and we owned one family car until my eldes was a junior in high school.

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  6. Janette, at this point I agree with yuou. even on a fixed income, the amount I pay for the local store is not that much. I avoid both walmrt and target for the most part...its not necessarily business practices even, its the "feel" of being in a huge warehouse.

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  7. b-I will stop by and do your list soon i promise-midterms today

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  8. When we lived in Belize, Central America, shopping was easier. We didn't have choices so we were forced to eat the way the locals ate.
    Living a frugal like was easier than in the U.S. where we have so many choices.

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  9. Sonia, it was also much easier for me in Germany. Even in a strong capitalist country there were stores in walking distance, almost no fast food chains and the expection andunderstand ign that credit ws not a particular good thing............

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  10. The small stores in my neighborhood sell mainly odds and ends and a lot of pastry/coffee places. The new shopping mall was the best thing that happened in terms of choice. It doesn't appear that it is putting the small businesses out of business-they are crowded all the time.
    I really hate to shop, but I do like the service and all the choices I have at Target. Where I live it is very densely populated-we can support a lot of businesses.

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  11. I'd love to be able to walk to everything I needed/wanted! give me Mayberry(but with air conditioning and boneless skinless chicken breasts LOL!)
    Susanna

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